Bug 64530 - Installer crashes when trying to mount initial ramdisk
Installer crashes when trying to mount initial ramdisk
Product: Red Hat Linux
Classification: Retired
Component: kernel (Show other bugs)
i686 Linux
medium Severity high
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Assigned To: Arjan van de Ven
Brian Brock
Depends On:
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2002-05-07 05:19 EDT by Peter Hunter
Modified: 2008-08-01 12:22 EDT (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Story Points: ---
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2004-09-30 11:39:33 EDT
Type: ---
Regression: ---
Mount Type: ---
Documentation: ---
Verified Versions:
Category: ---
oVirt Team: ---
RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
Cloudforms Team: ---

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Description Peter Hunter 2002-05-07 05:19:53 EDT
From Bugzilla Helper:
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X; en-US; rv:1.0rc1)

Description of problem:
When booting either from bootnet.img or from CD-ROM, kernel boots but then can't
load the initial ramdisk. The kernel tries EXT-fs, cramfs, FAT and isofs (I
think) before giving up and dying with a kernel panic. Redhat 7.1 works fine on
my machine.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
1.Boot computer with Redhat 7.3 installer disk (either floppy or CD-ROM)

That's it!

This occurs even when choosing the mediacheck option.

Actual Results:  Kernel panic.

Expected Results:  Nice installation procedure.

Additional info:

Processor is an AMD Duron. Most other things fairly standard.
Comment 1 Michael Fulbright 2002-05-07 17:37:02 EDT
Please check the md5sums of the ISOs you burned.
Comment 2 Peter Hunter 2002-05-07 18:10:14 EDT
The md5 sums are correct. But I think you can mark this bug resolved - looks
like it is hardware, as adding mem=128M (I have 256Mb installed) causes all to
work. Though Redhat 7.1 never had any bother. And Redhat 7.3 seems fine without
a mem= restriction on memory. Odd.
Comment 3 Peter Hunter 2002-05-07 18:19:22 EDT
OK - more info. When I boot the BIOS mentions 16Mb shared memory (shared with
the video card maybe?) and my profile on RHN and the free command both seem to
agree that I have 240 MB (rather than 256MB). So it seems the running kernel
knows something is up with the last 16MB. But the installer doesn't. Does that help?
Comment 4 Michael Fulbright 2002-05-09 14:53:50 EDT
Matt is this a problem with syslinux?
Comment 5 Brandon Yap 2002-05-10 11:19:34 EDT
I'm having the same problem as mentioned by peter.hunter@op.org.
The installer tries to load the ramdisk and panics.
The md5 checksums of my iso's match that of the ones on the red hat site.
Running 384 megs of memory.
Comment 6 Brandon Yap 2002-05-10 11:39:12 EDT
Here's a little more information which might or might not help. It's the last 
few pieces of information relating to the panic.

RAMDISK: Compressed image found at block 0
crc error<6>Freeing initrd memory: 1976k freed
EXT2-fs: unable to read superblock
cramfs: wrong magic
FAT: unable to read boot sector
isofs_read_super: bread failed, dev=09:00, iso_blknum=16, block=32
Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 09:00

I truncated the beginning of the boot sequence because everything looked 
alright up until the crc error line.

I'm running a P3 773 with a BE6-II mobo and 384M memory.
On Peter's suggestion, I tried the mem=128M parameter but that didn't work for 
If there's anymore info I could provide you with that would help, please let 
me know.
Comment 7 Brandon Yap 2002-05-12 20:37:41 EDT
Additional notes after more testing:
Burning the CD using 'disc at once' mode causes the above errors.
Burning the CD using 'track at once' mode circumvents the above errors, but 
hangs at the blue screen just after it finishes loading /sbin/loader right at 
the end.
Booting with a floppy made from boot.img allowed me to boot and install 
Comment 8 Peter Hunter 2002-05-13 04:24:24 EDT
Just to make things clear - I do not see the crc error that byap@zoobog.com
sees. Maybe two seperate problems?
Comment 9 Need Real Name 2002-05-23 22:01:49 EDT
I've got the same problem. Looking in this bugzilla I found bug 65187.

I was installing ReadHat 7.3 in my laptop, with 128 MB of RAM with 8 MB of 
shared memory for the video card.

Using these parameters, the installation started:

mem=exactmap mem=640K@0 mem=119M@1M

Hope this helps.
Comment 10 Jim Prior 2002-06-06 11:13:14 EDT
Here's a new twist:

Disabling power management in BIOS also is a way of getting past kernel panic.

First, with power management in BIOS set to APM/APCI with
all other power sub-options disabled, 
I had experiencesimilar to others as described below.

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
Wipe hard drive.
Boot Red Hat 7.3 Disk 1.
Hit return at "boot: " prompt yields the following dead end:

EXT2-fs: unable to read superblock
cramfs: wrong magic
FAT: unable to read boot sector
isofs_read_super: bread failed, dev=09:00,iso_blknum=16, block=32
Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 09:00

I have 128MB of memory of which 8MB is shared for video, so I tried:

   boot: linux mem=120M

with same kernel panic result.  However,

   boot: linux mem=112M

gets past the kernel panic.  Text installs had same experience.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Then I disabled power management in BIOS, and repeated installation.
It worked without any problems.  I didn't have to specify any memory
parameters when booting.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hardware is very cheap motherboard of mostly SiS chipset stuff
(sis630 video, sis900 ethernet)
with 1050MHz Athlon (1400 part downclocked), 128MB of memory,
27KB IDE hard drive, IDE CD-ROM drive.

I verified that the CD has the correct md5sum.

The system worked fine with RH 7.2.
Comment 11 Peter Hunter 2002-06-06 11:27:29 EDT
I have basically the same kind of m/b as jep@columbus.rr.com - cheap SiS with
lots of integrated components. Maybe a BIOS bug? But what's strange is that once
installed, the kernel plays nicely with my machine. What's different about the
installer kernel?

If it would really help, I can annoy my users by booting the machine with the
installer disk having turned off power management. But only if it would help.
Comment 12 Boštjan Čargo 2002-08-26 11:23:59 EDT
I experienced exactly the same problem as mentioned by byap@zoobog.com.
But my configuration is quite different:
 486 DX2, 32MB EDO RAM, 3 IDE disks, ATAPI CD-ROM.

I tried to use installation options:
 - mem=exact-map,
 - nodma, 
 - lower the ammount of available memory from 32m to 16m, 8m and other values,
but with no success.
Comment 13 Need Real Name 2002-09-17 02:22:46 EDT
I always had this problem with RH distros. And I *always* solve them very 
nicely...Disable ACPI under "power management" in the BIOS. Or use APM ONLY. Do 
not use APM/ACPI combos.

The error you mention can be reproduced 100% of the time.

Can any RH engineer tell me why RH does not like ACPI management?

Erick Perez
Comment 14 Need Real Name 2002-09-17 15:10:24 EDT
I am having the same problem.  I have a Compaq Proliant 2500 with (5)18.2GB 
HDD's.  RAID5.  680M of memory.  Compaq Smart 2/P array controller.  7.3 will 
not detect memory and when I boot with:
boot: linux mem=680M 
It gives me a kernel panic 

EXT2-fs: unable to read superblock
cramfs: wrong magic
FAT: unable to read boot sector
isofs_read_super: bread failed, dev=09:00,iso_blknum=16, block=32
Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 09:00

I have tried all the solutions on this page.  7.2 installs with little to no 
problem.  Only have to specify memory size.
Comment 15 Jeremy Katz 2003-10-21 19:57:16 EDT
Is this any better with the Fedora test releases?
Comment 16 Bugzilla owner 2004-09-30 11:39:33 EDT
Thanks for the bug report. However, Red Hat no longer maintains this version of
the product. Please upgrade to the latest version and open a new bug if the problem

The Fedora Legacy project (http://fedoralegacy.org/) maintains some older releases, 
and if you believe this bug is interesting to them, please report the problem in
the bug tracker at: http://bugzilla.fedora.us/

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